Work/Life Balance—A Second Lesson at IBM


Bob Farley called me into his office to tell me to go home. ‘Twas Christmas Eve at IBM and the halls were fairly quiet. With few remaining vacation days left, I needed to work on Christmas Eve; I planned to drive down to Maryland the next day. I was working in the lab when he called me.

I looked at Bob, my boss’s boss, and said “I have work to do.” He patiently looked back at me and said “Anne, I cannot go home until you go home.” The nature of the request began to register with me. This is a company tradition–you are sent home early on the eve of Christmas.

A lesson in work-life balance delivered by a middle manager at a major corporation: “We believe you should spend time with your family.” So I left work early that day.

Have a productive day,

Anne Meixner

Dear Reader, my hope is that you are not reading this on a holiday. I decided to post this on Thanksgiving Day to keep with my bi-weekly Thursday postings on engineering stories. As it is a holiday, it seemed appropriate to share this story. Please share your comments or stories below. You, too, can write for The Engineers’ Daughter–See Contribute for more information.

Additional Reading

In thinking about how many hours to work and should you work holidays or not consider reading up on the history.  Juliet B. Schor’s book The Overworked American (published in 1993) provides a thorough look at work versus play in America.

A couple of  years ago USA Today published an article about American’s working on holidays.

Bob Farley exhibited behavior the opposite of Ebenezer Scrooge  of A Christmas Carol fame in which he wanted Bob Cratchit to be working on Christmas Day.

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